Ali Base service members experience piece of history
By Staff Sgt. Kenya Shiloh, 407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs
/ Published March 01, 2009
ALI BASE, Iraq -- Less than two miles outside the front gate lies an area of historical and biblical significance - a place where the man considered the father of all nations, Abraham, used to call home. This place houses a temple nearby called the Ziggurat of Ur.
The city of Ur (Ur of Chaldeans) is located in southern area of Iraq and was first identified in Genesis 12:28. It is considered the most ancient city within Sumaria and later Babylonia.
The Sumerians were credited with inventing beer, irrigation, the wheel and the first written language.
"The Ziggurat was originally a place of worship for the Sumerians who built it about 4,000 years ago," said Chaplain (Maj.) Kevin Lockett, 407th Air Expeditionary Group chaplain. "This was the place civilization, as we know it, began. This was the time when people evolved from individual families who survived as hunters and gatherers into communities where they relied upon each other as farmers, craftsmen and tradesmen. This was one of the first cities known to exist."
According to Chaplain Lockett, Abraham, the son of a wealthy merchant, was thought to have lived there during his childhood and part of his adulthood before traveling to Canaan.
Now, services members, Department of Defense civilians and contractors have the opportunity to experience that history by taking a tour of the Ziggurat and Abraham's home with 407th AEG Chaplains Office. The tour, which averages about 30 people, began several Air and Space Expeditionary Force cycles ago under the guidance of the Chaplain Corps.
Services members who want to take the tour first have to sign up for an orientation and safety briefing. Briefings are held Mondays at 6:30 p.m. at Bedrock Chapel Annex, a week prior to the tour. Tours are held Sundays and Mondays at 2:30 p.m.
During the tour, service members can expect to visit the Ziggurat of Ur, the oldest-known standing archway in the world, a royal palace and tombs of the members of the third dynasty of Ur, and the home of Abraham. But time is running short.
"We will most likely be discontinuing the tours in March, so people need to get out there and see it," said Chaplain Lockett. "If people can't make the scheduled tour times, we will gladly work with commanders and first sergeants to arrange special tours for squadrons."